How To Coach A Remote Sales Team: 7 Steps Successful Sales Leaders Are Taking Now

How long has it been since you stepped foot in your office?

Normally, the move to remote happens gradually, with time to make clear plans, educate your team, and train them effectively. But with so many teams being moved to remote work on a moment’s notice due to the crisis, there was little time for sales leaders to plan and prepare for this major change.

If your team is newly remote, do you have a clear plan on how you’ll continue to coach them?

Leading a remote sales team is a whole different ballgame, and you’re up to bat in the 9th inning with the bases loaded.

How can you make sure to hit a home run for your sales team?

First, you need to recognize why coaching is so important for a remote sales team. Then, you can follow the methods that sales leaders are using right now to coach their remote teams.

Why is sales coaching so important for remote teams?

As a sales leader, you know that coaching your team as individuals is essential to their growth and success.

But for a remote sales team, coaching takes on another level of importance.

When you’re used to the day-to-day interaction that comes with working in an office, moving to remote work can take a significant emotional toll.

This is especially true for teams who moved remote due to COVID, since the move was so unexpected. 

Reps who relied on the energy and atmosphere of the office may start to feel lonely and unmotivated. Remote team leaders recognize that isolation, anxiety, and depression are significant problems when working remotely.

As a sales leader, you need to take responsibility for the health of your team. That’s why coaching your remote team individually is so vital. Not only will it help them improve as salespeople: it will also give you the opportunity to help them be successful, happy remote workers.

So, how can you continue to coach your remote sales team?

7 methods you can start using today to coach your remote sales team

Coaching in a remote setting presents unique challenges that you may not have faced when coaching an in-office team. How can you be fully aware of what’s happening with your reps? What can you do to motivate them when they’re alone at home? 

Here are 7 methods that remote sales leaders are using right now to coach their teams:

1. Make sure your 1:1s have a clear agenda

Sales managers are busy people, and working remotely has probably increased the number of meetings and 1:1s that you have in your schedule.

If you want those meetings to be productive and efficient, you need to make sure they have an agenda.

The day before your scheduled 1:1 with a rep, send them a general outline of what you’d like to discuss in the meeting. This might include some of the numbers on their outreach or deals closed, or a specific sales tactic you want to work on with them.

Of course, you’re not the only one who should have a say in the agenda.

In the outline you send to your rep, include specific questions for them to answer, such as:

  • What was the best call you had this week?
  • Which deals do you need help with right now?
  • What’s one thing that’s slowing you down?
  • What’s one thing you want to focus on right now?

With both parties taking responsibility for the meeting, you’ll be more involved in the rep’s progress, and they’ll have a structured environment to ask for help when they need it.

2. Schedule time to listen to sales calls

You can’t be 100% sure of your reps unless you’re in the field with them, listening to them. If you want to coach your team successfully, you need to know what they’re saying to prospects, what’s working for them, and what’s not.

Since you can no longer listen in on calls that are happening on the sales floor, how can you do this?

First, make sure that all calls and virtual meetings are being recorded. Then, schedule a specific block of time each week to listen to those recorded calls. Using the right software, can even jump in as a call is happening and listen to how your reps handle conversations. 

Of course, you can’t spend your whole week listening to calls. If you’re managing a larger team and need help figuring out which calls to listen to, give that responsibility to the reps. Have each rep select two calls from the week for you to listen to: their best and their worst. Then you’ll have a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, meaning you can coach them more specifically on the skills they need to improve.

3. Develop a virtual peer-learning system

Coaching a remote sales team is more than just telling people what to do. Many times, reps can learn a lot from each other. It’s your job as a sales leader to create these learning opportunities.

Peer learning comes in many forms. For example, if you’re using your CRM to pull sales activity data for your different reps, you can see which reps excel at certain tasks and which ones need a little help.

For sales teams who have suddenly gone remote due to the current situation, tasks such as running a video sales call or doing a product demo over Zoom may be something completely new. If you have experienced remote sales reps on your team, take advantage of their knowledge and use them to coach the other reps on selling remotely.

For example, you could have a rep who is more experienced at remote sales run a full product demo for the team via Zoom to show them what a good virtual demo should look like.

Many remote sales teams also set up regular peer learning sessions between their reps. For example, software company FareHarbor took their sales teams remote during the COVID crisis. To keep their teams motivated, they set up virtual learning sessions where a few reps would listen to each other’s calls and learn from how they pitch, share information, or handle objections.

By teaching your sales team to rely on and learn from each other, you’ll help them continue to grow and improve.

4. Set up a regular coaching program for all your reps, including top performers

As a busy sales leader, it may be tempting to reduce your coaching efforts to just those reps who are struggling most. 

Don’t make this mistake.

When your sales reps are working remotely, independently from each other, it can be very easy for them to feel isolated and lonely. Your top performers now may be struggling with issues you’re unaware of, and they may be unsure of how to ask for help.

Regular coaching for every rep, not just the low performers, is the best way for you to keep tabs with your team. Practice overcommunication with your reps. 

Don’t let weeks go by in between your 1:1s. If possible, talk with every rep at least once a week. As a leader, you need to set the example of open communication. That will make it easier for reps to approach you when they need help or guidance.

Read the full article at: